Everyone has a story.
We tell them and hear them all the time. Sharing funny moments in the lunch room. Sharing memories bout a loved one. Sharing worries and seeking answers with a friend on the living room couch.
Stories are what connect us. They make us feel less alone, valued.
When my husband and I lost both our cats in the same month suddenly, we shared stories about them in our lives, and we felt better. The burden was lighter because we carried its weight together.
Hearing other people’s stories and encourage and help others.
A friend of mine recently had to find a new place to live quickly and she said remembering how everything worked out for my family when we were moving and had to find a house quickly, helped her stay positive. Knowing that a small part of my life story helped provide encouragement in a time of stress was humbling. You never know whose life you’ll touch.
Having compassion can inspire and uplift others whose stories are unknown
Sometimes we don’t know people’s stories. The post office lady. The man in the car in front of us. The family we see grocery shopping every week. And most of the time in our lives we don’t need to know people’s stories from these brief encounters, but sometimes just keeping in mind that we don’t know what happened this morning, yesterday, or a year ago, can help us have a little compassion and understanding for everyone who cross our paths.
Once a friend came to watch my son for an hour while I went to an appointment. She had a ball and when I returned said that this made her day because she just lost a dear friend of hers and needed the pick me up. I would have never known that, but my little ray of sunshine was able to light her day. Being joyful when you can and acknowledging others with a smile can clearly go a long way.
Listening to People’s Stories can be Healing
Many people have stories they don’t want to tell or are not ready to tell. They go about their life with a wall in front of them, blocking out whatever they need to in order to feel safe and keep going. Sometimes they hide inside themselves like a turtle until they feel it’s safe to come out. When you develop relationships with people sometimes they find themselves ready to share their story.
Recently I found out someone I know was going through troubling experiences. She said, ‘I feel like you’re my therapist.’ All I had asked was about an experience that changed them. They shared a powerful story about themselves and found it helpful in expressing how they felt.
It reminded me of the time I wrote about my uncle’s passing and what he meant to me and how sharing that story was healing for me. Having someone listen and sympathizing with my emotions meant a lot. Sharing it with my dad meant even more as we bonded over shared memories and honored his memory.
Sometimes we just want to be heard and acknowledged, to have someone validate who we are and what we experienced when we decide to process our feelings. Sometimes that is healing enough.
Always be ready to be a listening ear or have an encouraging word (maybe even sharing your own story) because you never know the imprints you’ll leave on someone’s heart.